One Year After ‘Dallas,’ Cast and Crew Keep Busy

Dallas, Josh Henderson, TNT

Josh Henderson in August (Getty Images)

The final episode of TNT’s “Dallas” aired one year ago today. Here’s an update on the show’s stars and key players from behind the scenes.

JOSH HENDERSON has been cast as the male lead in “The Arrangement,” an eagerly anticipated E! pilot about an actress who is offered $10 million to marry Hollywood’s biggest star. Filming began this month in Vancouver.

Patrick Duffy, June (Getty Images)

Patrick Duffy in June (Getty Images)

PATRICK DUFFY will appear in “Trafficked,” a forthcoming feature film based on the best-selling book “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery.” Duffy also led the TV series jury at the prestigious Monte Carlo Television Festival, and he guest starred on NBC’s “Welcome to Sweden” and ABC Family’s “The Fosters.”

LINDA GRAY published her memoirs, “The Road to Happiness is Always Under Construction,” guest starred on CW’s “Significant Mother” and appeared in the Hallmark Channel movie “Perfect Match.” She also stars in “Wally’s Will,” an independent short slated to play at film festivals.

JESSE METCALFE will be seen in “God’s Not Dead 2,” a Christian-themed film now in production. He also appeared in Hallmark Channel’s “A Country Wedding,” which drew big numbers in June, and the online flick “Dead Rising: Watchtower.”

JORDANA BREWSTER reprised her role as Mia in the latest “Fast and Furious” flick, “Furious 7,” which has grossed $1.5 billion since its release in April. Next up: Brewster will appear alongside John Travolta and Cuba Gooding Jr. in FX’s “American Crime Story,” a 2016 series about the O.J. Simpson trial, and then she’ll star in the second season of the ABC crime drama “Secrets and Lies.”

JULIE GONZALO has roles in two forthcoming films: “Waffle Street,” which stars Danny Glover, and the romantic comedy “The List.” She also stars in the independent film “I Did Not Forget You,” produced by Brenda Strong.

Brenda Strong, Dallas, TNT

Brenda Strong in July (Hallmark Channel)

BRENDA STRONG has joined the cast of “The 100,” a CW fantasy series that will return for its third season next year. The newly married Strong also co-stars in “Ice Sculpture Christmas,” a Hallmark Channel holiday movie.

MITCH PILEGGI will reprise his role as Walter Skinner in Fox’s six-episode “The X-Files” revival, slated to debut January 24. He also can be seen in the film “The Girl in the Photographs,” and he did a guest stint on CBS’s “Blue Bloods.”

EMMA BELL has been cast as the young Emily Dickinson in “A Quiet Passion,” a film starring Cynthia Nixon as the adult poet. Bell also stars in the short film “BYoutiful” and has roles in two other projects, “The Good Ones” and “See You in Valhalla.”

JUDITH LIGHT plays a grandmother in the recent release “Digging for Fire,” starring Orlando Bloom. She’ll also continue to be seen in Amazon’s Emmy-winning series “Transparent,” which will begin its second season December 4.

JUAN PABLO DI PACE played Jesus in NBC’s “A.D. The Bible Continues,” which aired in the spring. Di Pace will next be seen in the feature film “After the Reality” starring Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch.

KEVIN PAGE has opened a gallery in Dallas to showcase artworks created through three-dimensional printing. His website is

CYNTHIA CIDRE (Executive producer) is now an executive producer of ABC’s “Dallas”-esque drama “Blood and Oil,” which debuts September 27.

RODNEY CHARTERS (Cinematographer) is shooting director Zach Braff’s feature film “Going in Style,” which stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as three retirees who plan a bank heist.

RACHEL SAGE KUNIN (Costume designer) has brought her talents to CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” which will begin its second season October 12.

CHARLES YUSKO (Hair stylist) is now hair department head for “From Dusk Till Dawn,” a series on the El Ray channel.

Which projects from the “Dallas” cast and crew are you looking forward to? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

The Dallas Decoder Interview: Patrick Duffy

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing

Patrick Duffy is everything you would expect him to be: smart, thoughtful, funny and above all, kind. I was honored to interview him recently, and I’m excited to share our conversation with my fellow “Dallas” fans.

It’s been eight months since “Dallas” was canceled. How’s life treating you?

Well, it’s been more than a year since the show ended because we were canceled long after we finished filming the third season. It’s been a year of catching up with your own private life, which you never put totally on hold when you’re working, and spending time in the place that you really love to be. I do miss the day-to-day experience of being with those close friends of mine from the show.

Let’s talk about the cancellation. Why do you think TNT dropped the show?

I think it’s not even a secret as to why it was canceled: the regime change at TNT. We had two very strong advocates in [executives] Steve Koonin and Michael Wright. They both left, and in that vacuum, other people wanted to make their mark. They thought “Dallas” harkened back instead of leaning forward. They wanted to clean house, and we happened to be one of the victims.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

The unexpected

It’s still heartbreaking for fans. How about you?

As Linda [Gray] will tell you, this isn’t our first day at the picnic. We’ve both had shows canceled before. It was a bit of a shock because it was more unexpected than in previous cancellations, where you know the ratings are dying and it’s just a matter of time. This one caught most of us by surprise.

The ratings did drop in the third season, though. What do you attribute that to?

I think everyone would assume part of it was Larry [Hagman] dying. I would not even assume that. I would take that as a definite. [TNT] also split the third season, and we were doing very well under the old method of airing a full season at a time. I don’t really know what to think. I feel the quality of the shows — oddly enough — improved in the third year. Larry’s passing made everybody up their game, which is why I was more than a little surprised and disappointed that we weren’t picked up.

I agree that in a lot of ways, the show was only getting better.

I really thought we had the potential to prove to the world that the show is not about one person. Larry said that year after year. The show is “Dallas,” and “Dallas” can be anything if it’s done correctly. He said that when I left the show, he said it when other people left the show, and he would have said it when he left the show. It would have been harder for him to say it. … [Laughs]

Some fans cite the drug cartel storyline as an example of the new “Dallas” straying too far from its origins. What’s your take?

I don’t know if I agree with that. We see a lot of news about the influence of the drug trade in mid- to southern Texas. So I didn’t object to it. I thought it was a viable subject line. I think it might have been overemphasized. It might have been better as a tangential story instead of an absolute focus, and I think we expanded our cast a bit precipitously. I loved every regular cast member we added, but “Dallas” has always been about the Ewing family, and when you expand it too much and too soon, I don’t think the show stayed as “pure” as it might have been. But those are little things.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Fired up

You inspired a lot of fans during the #SaveDallas campaign. What was it like to see so many people rallying behind the show?

I had a double feeling about it. I was so encouraged that so many viewers saw value in our show. At the same time, it was bittersweet because I was more than 75 percent sure nothing was going to happen at TNT. I knew that they weren’t going to say, “Oops” [and reverse the cancellation]. And I knew just enough of the financial complexities of making “Dallas” that it would be next-to-impossible for a new network or entity to take it over. So I felt it was wonderful [that #SaveDallas] was so wishful and positive and hopeful, and yet the Titanic is going down. You can bail as much as you want — and God love everybody who had a bucket — but it’s still going down.

A lot of fans haven’t given up.

I know. I go on Twitter and see how many people are still hashtagging #SaveDallas. And I don’t want to deter anybody from fulfilling every conceivable idea they might have. I live my life that way. I encourage everybody to do their best. I’ve had both my boys in competitions of various sorts over the years, and as a parent you sometimes think, “Oh my God, they’re going to lose so bad.” But what do you do? You don’t say to your kid, “You know, you’re going to lose son, but. …” So you just say, “You can do it. Come on!”

You weren’t involved in the behind-the-scenes discussions, but as far as you know, was there ever a point where the show came close to finding a new home?

I know that [showrunners] Cynthia [Cidre] and Mike [Robin] were desperately meeting with people — bona fide executive meetings all over the place. And Peter Roth at Warner Bros. was devastated when the show was canceled. He wanted to do everything conceivable to see if there was a place where it could reside. But when I would talk to them and they would report with ever-increasing regularity how this conversation fell through, and how that deal couldn’t happen, I started to just think, “Well, I have a feeling we’re putting this one to bed.”

It sounded as if the CW was a real possibility at one point.

Yeah. I think the reason is because of the CBS and Warner Bros. affiliation and the connection to Les Moonves [the CBS president and chief executive officer who once worked for Lorimar, producer of the original “Dallas.”] There were a lot of historical lines there. If a family member was going to bail you out, maybe that would be the one. But again, I think the financial complexity just doomed us.

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

The end?

So you think “Dallas” is over for good?

I’ve learned to never say never. I died once and came back, but I don’t see the situation resolving itself. You would have to gather together the same group of people who’ve been spending the past year moving forward with their careers. But if it happened and I were available, I’d be the first person in line for wardrobe.

Bobby was the steward of Southfork. Would you be interested in taking a creative role behind the scenes — becoming the steward of “Dallas”?

I don’t know if I’m the type of creative person who can do that. “Dallas” is unique. If I understood it and if Larry understood it, the final reunion movie [1998’s “War of the Ewings”] would not have been the turkey it was. We were in charge of that one and it was terrible. I’ll be the first to admit that. So no, I don’t believe I could pick up the reins and produce a continuation of “Dallas.” Cynthia could, and I think she would do it in a heartbeat if she were available and somebody asked her to pick it up again. But I don’t think I know anybody else that could do it.

Do you have any idea what was in store for Bobby? There were a few scripts written for the fourth season. Everyone is dying to know what was in those storylines.

[Laughs] Nothing ever crossed my desk to read for the fourth season, but Cynthia and I were very close and hopefully will remain so for the rest of our lives. And she was telling me what would happen and a lot of it had to do with Christopher’s death. What does it do to Bobby to lose his adopted son, and then what’s in the history of “Dallas” that would eventually bring him out of that? And there are a lot of characters invented in the first incarnation of “Dallas” that could be brought in to play on the new show in a very appropriate way.

Ooh. Can you give an example?

I know Steve [Kanaly] was going to be brought in for a lot of episodes in Season 4. Cynthia knew that he was a definite positive for the show.

So maybe we would finally have seen Bobby’s other son, Lucas, who was raised by Ray Krebbs?

Well, I think that’s got to be the elephant in the room whenever you talk about Bobby losing one son — who is an adopted son. Family was the most important thing to Bobby. So where is the handoff in his mind of who takes over when Bobby dies? That’s his mission, to find that person. So I can’t imagine that they would leave that stone unturned.

I’m also curious about this half-sister of John Ross’s. Any idea who J.R.’s daughter was going to be?

I don’t know at all what they had in mind in terms of casting. I can’t imagine. It’s not uncommon for Texas oil billionaires to have dual families. H.L. Hunt had two families simultaneously for years. And Larry talked about the idea when he was alive. What if J.R. had an entire second life?

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Simmer down now

So when you look back on the new “Dallas,” what are the highlights?

For me, personally, I loved the maturation of the character of Bobby. I thought Cynthia hit the right note with his aging process, who he was after we saw him after that length of time. She maintained Bobby’s essence, but she gave him that sort of calm outlook. “I’ve lived long enough now. I’m not quite as fiery as I used to be. I know the drill.” I really liked that. I felt very comfortable in his shoes at that time. And speaking of shoes, when the new show was starting production, I went back and thought, “Well, maybe Bobby’s not so cowboy anymore.” And I told wardrobe, find me a really nice pair of Italian slip-on shoes for Bobby to wear. And I put them on the first day of work and went back to Rachel [Sage Kunin, the show’s costume designer] and said, “Dear God, get me the boots. I cannot be Bobby Ewing in these shoes!”


Really! It didn’t feel right. Linda told me years ago that she can’t be Sue Ellen in flats. She’s got to wear high heels. Sue Ellen wears heels. Bobby has to have boots, and once I came to that realization, then I was okay. [Laughs] But I agreed with everything that Cynthia put him through in the course of those three years. Certain things I objected to, but I know they were right.

Can you give an example of something you objected to?

Well, the thing that I thought was devastating to the character of Bobby was in the reading of [J.R.’s] will when we find out Mama gave half of Southfork to John Ross.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

Enemy mine

Yeah, what’s up with that?

Yeah, well, that’s exactly what I said when I read it in the script! First, I called Cynthia and said, “What the hell?” [Laughs] I thought, “Nooo.” First of all, how did that stay hidden for 30 years? But it added such a tension in the storyline. It made me as an actor find different things to do. But I never would have entertained that if I had been in charge and somebody would’ve suggested it. I would have said, “No, that can’t be. That wouldn’t happen. Mama wouldn’t do that. I’m sorry.” But it was the right thing to do.

It really helped elevate Josh Henderson’s character to be Bobby’s new adversary.

And he had one of the hardest parts. How do you be the new J.R. Ewing? But Josh’s growth pattern as an actor playing that part for three years was probably the largest bell curve. And he really filled that responsibility. Brenda Strong had the other hardest part. How do you replace Pamela?

She also had to replace Miss Ellie, in a sense.

She had to replace everybody! [Laughs] She had to replace Sheree [J. Wilson], she had to replace Pamela, she had to replace Mama. My favorite horse, my dog. She had a thankless job and she did it. She was the perfect choice and the perfect rendition of who could fill those responsibilities on “Dallas.”

You’ve mentioned Larry. Do you miss him?

No, I don’t. I’ve said that from the day after he died. I don’t think I’ll ever miss him in the sense that — right now, I’m looking at a picture of the two of us. I’m sitting at my desk and there’s a picture of him and me here, holding a big fish between us that we caught in the river that runs through my ranch.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, TNT


I think we saw that picture on the show.

Probably. We donated a lot of pictures for the show. But I think until the day I die, I will be so satiated with my relationship with Larry. There are no empty spots. There is a sense of longing for the day-to-day connection. That I miss. I miss the phone ringing and he’d go, “Hi-ditty-ditty.” He would always do a little Irish tune before he would say, “Hey.” Those are the moments I miss. But just as I was telling you that, I hear it in my ear. I hear it as clear as if the phone had just rung and he had done it.

I know you remain close to Linda, who’s getting ready to publish her book. Will you write one?

Nope. I admire Linda for writing her book. Larry wrote his. I am too private a person. My private life and my private feelings are exactly that, and if you write a book, it should make you want to be honest. I’ve always had the title of my autobiography, which is “What I Choose to Recall.” I stole the lyrics from Merle Haggard song.

I love that song.

Yeah, and to me it’s the perfect title for an autobiography that’s not totally honest.

That song played during “J.R.’s Masterpiece” during the memorial sequence.

Really? [Singing] “Everything does change, except what you choose to recall.” [Laughs] Had I written it, that would have been the title of my autobiography.

Share your comments below and read more Dallas Decoder interviews.

Five More Who Mattered: Dallas Decoder’s Other 2014 VIPs

Cynthia Cidre, Dallas, Josh Henderson, Michael M. Robin, Patrick Duffy, Peter Roth, TNT

The fans are Dallas Decoder’s Persons of the Year, but here are five others who made important contributions to “Dallas” in 2014:

Five More Who Mattered - Cidre and Robin copy

The bosses

Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin. If you’re a fan of the new “Dallas,” then join me in honoring executive producers Cidre and Robin for delivering an entertaining show and then fighting like hell to save it after TNT dropped the ax. Their version of “Dallas” wasn’t every fan’s cup of Texas tea, but a lot of us loved it. This show will be missed. We salute the showrunners and thank them for their contributions to one of television’s great franchises.


The leader

The leader

Patrick Duffy. To me, Duffy is Bobby Ewing — and that’s why it came as no surprise when he became a leading voice of the #SaveDallas movement. I mean, isn’t that exactly what Bobby would’ve done in that situation? Duffy held fans together and offered us inspiration when we needed it most. He also earned a spot on this list when he returned to the “Dallas” director’s chair after a 23-year absence with “Hurt,” this year’s best episode.


The star

The star

Josh Henderson. Did you get chills when John Ross told Sue Ellen he wasn’t his father? How about when he smashed the gun barrel into Luis’s face and came this close to pulling the trigger? What about the time our young hero broke down while listening to J.R.’s old voicemail? Saying goodbye to John Ross is tough, but at least we don’t have to bid farewell to Henderson, a great actor who’s going to be entertaining us for a long time to come.


The player

The chief

Peter Roth. Peter who? Roth runs the television arm of Warner Bros., the studio that produced “Dallas.” During the #SaveDallas campaign, while the rest of us were drumming up support for the show on social media, Roth’s team was beating the bushes in Hollywood to find the Ewings a new home. They didn’t succeed, but fans thank them for trying. After all, if “Dallas” taught us anything, it’s this: Even promising deals sometimes don’t work out.


Who did I miss? Share your choices for “Dallas’s” 2014 VIPs below and read more opinions from Dallas Decoder.

Dressing ‘Dallas’: A Day with Costume Designer Rachel Kunin

Dallas, Rachel Sage Kunin, TNT

Give her a hand

Rachel Sage Kunin is standing inside an antique store on the edge of Dallas, carefully examining an ornate ring. “This could work,” she says before handing over her credit card, scribbling her signature on the receipt and dashing back to her car.

It’s early April, and Kunin — the costume designer for TNT’s “Dallas” — is collecting jewelry for the show’s newest character: a woman who happens to be the secret daughter of J.R. Ewing.

In less than 24 hours, the cast and crew will film the scene that introduces the daughter, who’ll only be shown from behind. This is slated to be “Dallas’s” third-season cliffhanger, but after it’s filmed, the producers will decide to save the character’s debut for the following season — only to have TNT pull the rug out from under them by cancelling the show.

Of course, no one knows that right now. On this Tuesday morning, the “Dallas” cast and crew are focused on wrapping up production for the season — which is why Kunin is rushing around town, trying to find J.R.’s daughter’s jewelry before the cameras start rolling tomorrow morning.

But this isn’t anything new for Kunin. In her world, the clock is always ticking.


Dallas, Rachel Sage Kunin, TNT

Script to screen

During the 1980s heyday of the prime-time soap operas, costume designers were almost as famous as the stars they dressed. The “Dynasty” cast wore Nolan Miller, while the women of “Dallas” were outfitted by Travilla, the man who put Marilyn Monroe in a white cocktail dress before she stepped onto a subway grate in “The Seven Year Itch.”

The ’80s soaps employed separate costumers for men and women, but Kunin did it all. She created every outfit worn by ever actor in every scene on “Dallas,” including the extras who hovered silently in the background.

Kunin, who grew up watching the original “Dallas” on Friday nights with her family, sees costuming as an essential ingredient in TV storytelling. John Ross’s pinstriped suits helped the audience know he was bold and ambitious; Christopher’s plaid shirts and jeans reflected his all-American, boy-next-door qualities.

After reading a script, Kunin came up with a concept for each character, and then she fitted the actor with the costume she created. Next, Kunin snapped a photo of the costumed actor and emailed it to executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin, who usually approved her creations but sometimes asked for tweaks.

Kunin occasionally designed outfits herself — the beige, brown and orange dress that Sue Ellen wore in the third-season opener is a Kunin original — but she got most of the cast’s clothing off the rack. After three years on the job, Kunin forged relationships with many of the city’s top retailers, including several who allowed her to borrow clothing and jewelry.

Kunin considers herself a “method costumer,” putting herself in the shoes of each character when choosing their outfits. She would go to Dillard’s department store to buy clothing for Elena, but the wealthier Sue Ellen’s clothes came from upscale retailers like Stanley Korshak.

“I want every character to be as authentic as possible. If the audience doesn’t believe this is how a character would dress, they’re going to have a hard time believing everything else that character does,” Kunin says.


Dallas, Rachel Sage Kunin, TNT

Clothes encounters

Each season of “Dallas” was usually filmed in Texas from fall until spring. When the show was in production, Kunin’s days usually began before sunrise and stretched into the night.

On this Tuesday in April, Kunin — dressed in jeans and sneakers, her hair in a ponytail — arrives at the “Dallas” production offices before 6 a.m. She puts the finishing touches on the costumes the actors will wear today, including choosing Bobby’s necktie and Sue Ellen’s earrings for the season’s final corporate showdown at Ewing Global.

Kunin then heads to the antique store, where she buys the ring for J.R.’s daughter. Kunin’s been working on this costume for two days; it’s proving tougher than most because producers haven’t given her a lot of information about the daughter, except that she’s a bit of a free spirit.

Since the character will only be shown from the elbow down, Kunin has nicknamed her “The Hand.” The extra who’ll play the role will have no dialogue, so the jewelry is going to have to do most of the work, cluing the audience into what the woman is like.

Kunin has also collected rings from a strip mall jewelry store, as well as leather bands, bracelets and other pieces from shops around town. She always gathers more than she needs because she never knows when a last-minute script change might require her to come up with a different concept for a character.

“You always want to have options,” Kunin says.


Dallas, TNT

Rack of ages

By 12:30 p.m., Kunin is back at the production offices, which are located in an industrial neighborhood in the city. Her desk is crammed into a room shared by the rest of her team, including an assistant who helps shop for clothing and another who manages the department’s budget.

The walls are plastered with call sheets and production memos, as well as random notes like a list of each actor’s shoe size. Scattered about are the real treasures: the clothing racks that hold virtually every costume that has appeared on the TNT series — Sue Ellen’s suits, Harris Ryland’s socks, the leopard skin bra worn by Candace, John Ross’s hot-to-trot secretary.

Around 1:20 p.m., Kevin Page appears inside Kunin’s doorway to be fitted for the trench coat and boots he’ll wear during tomorrow’s big scene, when Bum accompanies John Ross to a foreign locale to meet The Hand. (The scene will be filmed in a nearby restaurant that’s been transformed into an exotic bar, courtesy of the “Dallas” set designers.)

A few minutes later, Kunin returns to her desk to email her snapshots of Page to Cidre and Robin. Her inbox contains bad news from the show’s casting department: The extra who’s been cast as The Hand can’t come in for her fitting until after dinner.

This means Kunin won’t be able to email Cidre and Robin snapshots of The Hand until much later than expected. If Kunin’s concept isn’t what her bosses have in mind, she’ll have to come up with a new look for the character before filming begins early the next day.

In other words: Kunin could be in for a long night.


Charles Yusko, Dallas, Rachel Sage Kunin, TNT

Hair and wardrobe

Rachel Sage Kunin grew up in Malibu. According to family lore, she refused to wear anything that didn’t twirl between the ages of 2 and 6. After attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, she took jobs designing costumes for small feature films, and then landed her first series gig: “Cane,” Cidre’s “Dallas”-esque drama about a sugarcane-raising family in South Florida.

Although Kunin has spent her career behind the scenes, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine her finding success in front of the camera. She’s beautiful and poised, with a dazzling smile. Colleagues describe her as remarkably mellow for someone who works in a pressure cooker.

Yet Kunin is also a notorious perfectionist: Soon after Page’s fitting, the extras who’ll appear in the background of the bar scene begin streaming through the office for their fittings. Although many of them will only appear on screen for a split-second, each one gets the full Kunin treatment.

After placing a hat atop one man’s head, she steps back, studies him and renders her verdict: “No, I’m not buying it.” Back into her clothing pile she goes, looking for something that will fit him better.

Sometime after 3 p.m., Kunin realizes she hasn’t had lunch and scarfs down a plate of food from the craft services table. The protein boost comes in the nick of time, because the rest of the afternoon becomes a whirlwind.

When Kunin isn’t doing more fittings with extras, she’s dying a T-shirt that will be worn by an actor playing a medical examiner.

When she isn’t reviewing her latest retail receipts with her assistant, she’s using a marker to change the “gemstones” on the antique store ring from orange to red.

When she isn’t lugging around a pile of costumes for later in the week, she’s having a pow-wow with hairdresser Charles Yusko, who wants to know how high Judith Light’s collar will pop before he styles the actress’s hair.

Sometime around 5 p.m., there’s a lull. Kunin plops onto her dressing room floor with tomorrow’s script and scribbles some notes in the margins.

It’s the first time she’s sat down in hours.


Bobby Ewing, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing

Showdown at Ewing Global

In the early evening, Kunin heads over to the soundstages, which are located next to the production offices. Outside, the building looks like an anonymous warehouse. Inside, it’s a land of make-believe. Here’s the Southfork kitchen. There’s Bobby and Ann’s bedroom. Around the corner is Harris’s den.

Kunin spots Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, who are standing on their marks inside Ewing Global, getting ready to film a scene. Looking at Duffy, Kunin tilts her head, puts her hand on her hip and furrows her brow.

This is her light-hearted way of asking him why he isn’t wearing Bobby’s jacket. He gets it and explains that his character has probably been in a back room for hours, locked in tough negotiations with a government official over the future of the Ewing empire. Wouldn’t Bobby ditch his jacket under those circumstances?

Kunin isn’t convinced, so Duffy breaks into a comical whine and offers the truth: The studio lights are especially hot today. Gray playfully punches him in the arm and tells him to grow up.

By 7 p.m., Kunin is back at her desk. Yet another round of extras for the bar scene show up for their fittings, and then she receives an email from casting, telling her The Hand will be there soon.

It’s well past 8 when The Hand finally arrives. She’s a young woman, and she seems sweetly nervous. She tells Kunin she has previous experience doing this kind of thing — she once served as a hand double for Ashley Judd — but the only thing she knows about tomorrow’s scene is that she’ll be filmed from the elbow down.

The Hand has no idea how close she is to making “Dallas” history.

Kunin brings out the jewelry she’s collected, sits at her desk and arranges the pieces on the woman’s hands. When she’s satisfied with the look she’s created, she snaps a picture and emails it to Cidre and Robin.

Twenty minutes later, there’s a ping from Kunin’s phone. She picks it up and reads the message. A smile breaks across her face.

“Cynthia loves it!”


Dallas, TNT

The Hand (and the other one)

Several months later, after the season finale has aired, Cidre will tell interviewers about the scrapped scene that introduced J.R.’s daughter. She’ll also talk about shooting it again, this time with the actress who would’ve played the role permanently.

In other words: If “Dallas” had been renewed, Kunin would’ve gotten to do this all over again.

Not that she would’ve minded. As Kunin drives off the “Dallas” lot after her long day in April, she talks about how much she enjoys her job — even if it’s not as glamorous as a lot of people assume.

“It’s actually a lot of work,” Kunin says. “But I love it.”


Finale fashions

Here are some of the other looks “Dallas” costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin assembled for the show’s third-season finale:

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What are your favorite “Dallas” looks? Share your comments below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.

Let’s Hear It for ‘Dallas’ Fans!

#SaveDallas, Dallas, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Save Dallas, TNT

Applause! (Paley Center for Media)

I want to take a few moments to applaud everyone who participated in the #SaveDallas campaign. We’re all disappointed with the outcome, but we shouldn’t be disappointed with ourselves. We put up a good fight.

If nothing else, the past few weeks revealed how much “Dallas” means to its fans. When you read the tweets, Facebook posts and reader comments on sites like this one, you begin to appreciate how this show about fictional feuding families brought many real families together. An entire generation came of age while watching “Dallas” at the knees of their moms and dads. Now many of those kids are adults who watch “Dallas” with their own children. Few other shows can make that claim.

The #SaveDallas campaign also provided fans with an opportunity to share wonderful stories about how “Dallas” touched their lives. I loved hearing from the woman who told me about the Friday evening in 1981 when her mother went into labor with her; it seems mom wouldn’t leave for the hospital until “Dallas” was over. “I was a fan before birth!” the daughter tweeted. Other stories were poignant, like the one from the widow who wanted “Dallas” saved because she enjoyed watching the show with her late husband. “Dallas is all I got left,” she wrote. I wish the series could’ve been rescued for her alone.

It was also gratifying to see the extended “Dallas” family come together to support the fans as we tried to support them. We received so much encouragement from Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and other cast members, as well as several stars from the original series. Since #SaveDallas ended yesterday, it’s been equally heartwarming to read the thank-you messages the cast has sent everyone through social media. Not only do the fans love “Dallas,” but “Dallas” loves the fans back.

Special commendations go to everyone who did the heavy lifting behind the scenes, beginning with executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin, who poured their hearts into getting “Dallas” back on the air. I also admire the good people at Warner Horizon, the studio that produced “Dallas.” These folks knocked on a lot of doors in their quest to find a new home for the show. They deserve our gratitude.

Above all, I salute my fellow fans. Everyone who participated in this campaign tried their best, including the fans behind the petitions, Facebook pages and videos, as well as everyone who jammed the switchboards at the networks we targeted and filled the inboxes of the industry’s top executives. Special thanks go to the fans who sent approximately 1 million #SaveDallas tweets during the course of our six-week effort. I recommended the hashtag and so I’m quite biased, but as far as I’m concerned, each tweet was an expression of love for the show and the people who made it.

I wish all the tweets, Facebook “likes” and petition signatures had been enough to keep “Dallas” going — and for a while, I thought they might — but I guess that wasn’t realistic. Television is a business, and this show’s fate was destined to be decided on a spreadsheet, not on social media. This doesn’t mean fans didn’t have an important role to play, because we did. Our job was to raise our voices and let the world know how much we love “Dallas” and wanted the show to go on.

By that measure, #SaveDallas was a huge success.

What did you think of the #SaveDallas campaign? Share your comments below.

BREAKING NEWS: The Efforts to Save ‘Dallas’ Have Ended

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

The end

The efforts to find “Dallas” a new home have ended, executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin said today.

“After a 6-week attempt to try and land our beloved ‘Dallas’ at another network, we have to inform you that we have not succeeded. Warner Horizon has attempted, in a Herculean way, to try and find us a new home, but at the end of the day it did not work out,” Cidre and Robin wrote in a statement to “Dallas” fans.

The complete message appears below.

In a recent radio interview, “Dallas” star Patrick Duffy discussed the complexities of getting the show back on the air. In addition to finding a new network for “Dallas,” new foreign and online distribution deals were required, Duffy said.

Today’s news effectively ends the #SaveDallas campaign that began October 4, the day after TNT canceled the show. In the weeks that followed, as “Dallas’s” production studio Warner Horizon shopped the series to other networks, fans sent approximately 1 million #SaveDallas tweets and added more than 84,000 signatures to an online petition calling for another network to pick up the show.

“Dallas” devotees received encouragement from stars such as Duffy and Linda Gray, who praised fans’ persistence and ingenuity in interviews and social media posts.

In their statement, Cidre and Robin also hailed the #SaveDallas campaign as “a truly remarkable undertaking” and thanked fans for their support. “We cannot fully express how much we loved making this show for you and with you,” they wrote.

Here’s Cidre and Robin’s full statement:

Hi Friends,

Well, we have come to the end. After a 6-week attempt to try and land our beloved “Dallas” at another network, we have to inform you that we have not succeeded. Warner Horizon has attempted, in a Herculean way, to try and find us a new home, but at the end of the day it did not work out.

We so appreciate the outpouring of support by all of you, and the #SaveDallas campaign was a truly remarkable undertaking. We cannot fully express how much we loved making this show for you and with you. We had 3 wonderful years together, and we had the times of our lives bringing this iconic show back to television. Thank you for your support; thank you for your loyalty to our wonderful characters; and thank you for watching our show.

We wish you all our very best, and thank you again for loving “Dallas.”

With great admiration and appreciation,

Cynthia Cidre and Michael Robin

How do you feel about the end of the #SaveDallas campaign? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

#SaveDallas: ‘Don’t Give Up,’ Patrick Duffy Says

Ain't over yet

Ain’t over yet

“Dallas” fans should continue their efforts to save the series, Patrick Duffy told radio host Jason Matheson today. “Keep going is the basic mantra. Don’t give up is the basic mantra,” Duffy said.

Showrunner Cynthia Cidre and Warner Bros., the studio that produces “Dallas,” are still trying to find a new home for the series, which TNT dropped last month. It’s not merely a matter of moving the show to another network; complicated international and online distribution deals have to be worked out too.

Nevertheless, there’s still hope, Duffy said.

“Until we as a cast and Cynthia Cidre say, ‘Stop, it’s a dead issue,’ we should keep going forward. And as a cast, we encourage every one of our followers to do that,” Duffy said.

He encouraged fans to continue sharing their love for “Dallas” on social media, including Twitter, where more than 745,000 #SaveDallas tweets have been sent during the past month.

“The more people we can reach out to — the fan base expanding, just the Twitter base expanding — has … a verifiable effect. Maybe not on TNT because that door is closed, but certainly on potential open doors,” Duffy said.

He also praised the “Help Save Dallas” petition, which has garnered more than 82,000 signatures, as well as the newly launched campaign to send bottles of barbecue sauce to The CW, hoping it will persuade executives at that network to pick up the series.

Duffy spoke to Matheson on My Talk 107.1 FM, based in St. Paul, Minnesota. The station is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, which also owns Reelz, one of the networks “Dallas” fans targeted during the first few weeks of the #SaveDallas campaign.

Matheson, a longtime “Dallas” fan, told Duffy he spoke to Hubbard’s owner about putting the show on Reelz. Although Hubbard passed, Matheson said the company was impressed by the passion of the fans.

“We have the most remarkable fan base. … It’s global,” Duffy said. “These people are the most phenomenal, proactive group of fans that I’ve ever heard of.”

To listen to the interview, visit the website and click on “11/5 Wed Hour 4 – Jason and Alexis in the Morning.” Duffy’s segment begins at the 21-minute mark.

Share your positive comments below and check out Dallas Decoder’s Save Dallas Page for links to news coverage, petitions, other fan sites and more.

We’re Another Step Closer to Saving ‘Dallas’!

#SaveDallas, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Julie Gonzalo, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Save Dallas, Sue Ellen Ewing

Step by step

The #SaveDallas campaign is working!

Since the fan-drive effort began, we’ve had two goals: 1) to persuade Warner Bros., the studio that produces “Dallas,” to find a new home for the show, and 2) to demonstrate our passion and loyalty so another network will want to pick up the show.

Well, we can now scratch one item off the list.

In an upbeat interview with Yahoo! yesterday, executive producer Cynthia Cidre confirmed Warner Bros. is indeed shopping “Dallas” to other networks. According to Cidre, the studio is focused on pitching the drama — which TNT canceled earlier this month — to other cable channels, including CMT, WGN America and Reelz.

Streaming services such as Netflix aren’t an option because of complications with “Dallas’s” foreign distribution deals, Cidre said. It isn’t clear if Warner Bros. is pitching the show to broadcast networks too, although many fans remain hopeful “Dallas” will go to CBS, home of the original series.

Fans will follow “Dallas” wherever it goes, of course. That’s why I believe we should channel our energies into the second item on our to-do list: demonstrating our dedication to “Dallas” so no matter which network considers picking up the show, the programming executives will know they’re going to inherit many loyal viewers who are eager to see the Ewing saga continue.

Here’s what I recommend:

• Boost the petition. The “Help Save Dallas TNT” petition remains the single most powerful expression of enthusiasm for the “Dallas” brand. The petition has more than 72,000 signatures — which is impressive — but if we could push this number to 100,000 signatures, our efforts would surely attract more attention from the press and television executives. Let’s make this our goal. Please, if you know any fan who hasn’t signed the petition yet, encourage them to do so now.

• Show your love on social media. Keep posting on Facebook and Twitter using the #SaveDallas hashtag, which makes it easy for TV execs and reporters to find our tweets. Remember to keep your messages positive — especially when communicating with networks that could become “Dallas’s” new home. We want to make a good impression, after all. Also: Some fans are planning a “tweetathon” on Monday, October 13, from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern. Get online during this time and send as many #SaveDallas tweets as you can. (I won’t hold my usual Monday evening #DallasChat on October 13 so fans can focus on participating in the tweetathon.)

• Thank Warner Bros. We’ve all spent a lot of time during the past week encouraging Warner Bros. to do its part to save “Dallas.” Now that we know the studio is trying to find the show a new home, let’s all send tweets to @warnerbrostv and let the executives know how much we appreciate their efforts — and to urge them to keep fighting to save the show.

Thanks also go to the many “Dallas” diehards who continue doing their part. We should all feel proud of our achievements, but make no mistake: There’s still a lot of work to do.

Share your ideas and positive comments below and check out Dallas Decoder’s Save Dallas Page for links to news coverage, petitions, other fan sites and more.

The Dallas Decoder Interview: Linda Gray

#SaveDallas, Dallas, Linda Gray, Save Dallas, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Forever Sue Ellen

TNT has canceled “Dallas,” but don’t tell Linda Gray the show is over. I was honored to speak to her today about the #SaveDallas campaign.

Fans are so upset that “Dallas” has been cancelled. What happened?

It’s challenging to even describe what happened. We lost our two biggest cheerleaders when Steve Koonin and Michael Wright [the top executives in charge of TNT’s programming] left their positions. Meanwhile, we were left wondering if we were going to get picked up or not. We were kept waiting for someone to come in, and then when that person or persons were put into place, we were kept waiting to find out if they liked us or not. [Laughs] And then they decided, “Nope, we don’t want ‘Dallas.’”

How did you hear the news?

Our producers, Cynthia [Cidre] and Mike [Robin], called us on Friday afternoon. When you look at your phone and you see that both of your producers are on the line, it’s either good news or not so good news. [Laughs] This was not such good news.

What did they tell you?

Cynthia and Mike both said, “We haven’t given up. We’re going to see if another network wants us.” But the beauty of this has been the fans. The whole #SaveDallas campaign has been a huge revelation to me. It’s been so lovely. I’m very, very grateful for that. There’s been such an outpouring of love.

#SaveDallas, Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Save Dallas, TNT

Never give up

I was saddened when I heard about the cancellation on Friday, but then I saw your tweets on Saturday and I thought, “There’s hope!”

Always, Chris. Always! There’s always hope. [Laughs] I flashed back to the original series. In the beginning, CBS had us on Saturday night. We didn’t do so well there. And then they put us on Sunday night. We didn’t do so well there either. But then they put us on Friday night and we took off! CBS loved us. They nurtured us. [The new series] hasn’t been nurtured. We were on opposite “The Voice,” the Emmys, “Monday Night Football.”

You had one of the toughest time slots in television.

Yes, but this isn’t bah humbug. I’m not bashing TNT — not at all. I just feel like what happens with corporate executives is they see numbers — and that’s it. That’s what they do, and God bless them. But there are also a lot of people who want to be entertained, and this cast loved entertaining the audience.

“Dallas” is a special show. I loved the original series, and I love this one too. They’re different, but I love them both.

They should be different. Times are different.

So what do you think are the chances of saving “Dallas”?

Personally, I think they’re great. It’s a built-in brand. It comes with publicity you can’t buy, and it’s lasted a long time. And we want to be with people who care about us and don’t just look at the bottom line. This show deserves a fair shot. We need another shot. And if TNT doesn’t do it, we hope another network will pick us up. Other shows have done that. It does happen. And if it’s meant to happen here, it will.

#SaveDallas, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Save Dallas, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Team Ewing

The fans really appreciate the encouragement you and Patrick [Duffy] have given us.

Patrick said over the weekend he’s not done with Bobby Ewing. And amen to that, I say. I ain’t done with Sue Ellen Ewing either! [Laughs] When we spoke to Cynthia, she’s got the first script for Season 4 written — and I think a lot of good stuff is going to happen. The cast doesn’t know what it will be, but we want to get our little fingers on it and find out.

Is it official that Warner Bros. [the studio that produces “Dallas”] is going to shop the show around to other outlets?

I don’t know, but at least there’s buzz out there. I was at a function last night and [CBS chief executive] Les Moonves was there and he told me he’s been inundated with emails from fans who want him to pick it up. He was just smiling and said, “You wouldn’t believe the emails I’ve gotten.” I smiled right back and said, “Great!” [Laughs] The fans are not afraid at all. It’s not, “Oh, how do I get in touch with the head of CBS?” They just do it! They slammed the switchboards at TNT. They shut them down!

Maybe TNT will reverse its decision. I’ve been encouraging fans to be positive when they tweet at the studio and the network.

Exactly. TNT may say, “Oh, we made a mistake. We weren’t thinking. We’ve now come to our senses.” I encourage the fans to be positive too.

So what would Larry Hagman think of all this?

Oh God, he’d be furious. I’ve seen him mad. [Laughs] He’d hit them hard and it would be with humor, but he would be very honest and forthright. He’d probably say something similar to what Patrick said: “J.R.’s not finished yet.” That’s how we all feel.

He’d be right too. J.R. will never be finished! I love how the show honors him.

I think that’s why Season 3 has been so special. We were all kind of fumbling around after he died, but this season, everybody thought, “Pull up the boot straps. Get back on that horse and do it.” Patrick and I have discussed this. Everyone was shining this season — the cast, the writers, everyone. The original show had a small cast, and you got to know every character intimately. Sometimes when shows are brand new, they’re long and shallow, but they don’t go deep. In Season 3, I think, we went deep.

You were pleased with Sue Ellen’s direction this year?

I was very happy with what they did with Sue Ellen this season. You know, I cringed when she started drinking again. I thought, “My gosh, here we go again. Haven’t I done that before? Didn’t I do it well?” [Laughs] But I felt this time, it was handled very well. And I thought the scenes with Josh [Henderson] were wonderful. He really hit his stride this season.

#SaveDallas, Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Scene of the season

The scene where John Ross screams, “I am not my father!” is my favorite moment of the season.

Here’s the backstory on that: It was shot at night. It was the end of the day. So Josh and I were in a back bedroom in Sue Ellen’s home while they were doing the lighting and setting up. And we were like two caged animals. We didn’t speak. We didn’t talk.


He’s usually tweeting and carrying on. “Hey, Mama. How you doing?” But this time, I sat in my chair and went over my lines in my head and we never spoke. I mean, we didn’t plan it that way. It wasn’t like, “Oh, we’re not talking.” And then when we came out [to shoot the scene], man, you could feel it. The crew was very quiet. They knew it was an emotional scene. It was hard, and it was intense. It was something else. It was just amazing. That’s why it was so good. You went deep with Josh’s character. You went deep with Sue Ellen. She was blaming everybody and never looking at herself. It was such an intense, intense scene — because it was real.

That’s why this cancellation breaks my heart! How do you cancel a show that delivers amazing moments like that one?

Absolutely. To be canceled after that was like, “Oh, rats!” We’re all in the groove now, and then we get canceled.

So what’s your final message to the fans?

I would love to thank the fans for their love and their support and their outcry. I hope we get to continue making the show because I don’t think we’re finished.

So keep fighting?

Keep fighting! Yes, at all times. Keep fighting.

Share your comments below and read more interviews from Dallas Decoder.

The Fight to Save ‘Dallas’ Picks Up Steam

In the fight

In the fight

“Dallas” fans are fighting hard to save the show from cancellation — and the world is beginning to take notice.

The New York Times reported yesterday on the efforts to save the series, including the largest online petition, which has garnered more than 55,000 signatures.

Also, the #SaveDallas hashtag has been embraced by many fans, as well as stars such as Josh Henderson and Juan Pablo Di Pace, who’ve been using it in their social media posts. And this morning, Mitch Pileggi tweeted, “You Dallas fans are amazing and you should know as a certainty that your voices ARE being heard. Keep at it.”

Elsewhere, executive producer Cynthia Cidre tells Ultimate Dallas the battle cry I sounded in my first tweet — “Yesterday we cried, today we fight back” — has become the mantra for the show’s behind-the-scenes team.

I don’t know about you, but this kind of encouragement makes me want to fight harder. Here’s what I recommend:

• Help round up more support for the petition. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, do it now. Urge your friends and family to do it too. Fifty-five thousand signatures is an outstanding start, but if we want TV and studio executives to really pay attention to us, we’re going to need more signatures.

• Keep showing your support on social media. Use the #SaveDallas hashtag when sharing your love for “Dallas” on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. Remember, the hashtag makes it easier for studio and network executives, reporters and others to search for and find fans’ posts.

• Target your tweets. Many of you have been tweeting at reporters and bloggers and encouraging them to cover the campaign. Keep it up! It’s best to target journalists who report on the entertainment industry. I also encourage everyone to send positive messages to Warner Bros., the studio that owns “Dallas,” by tweeting to @warnerbrostv. Let the Warner Bros. executives know you want them to find “Dallas” a new home.

I’ve set up a Save Dallas Page to collect links to news coverage, petitions, Facebook pages, fan sites and more. Click these links to see what the press and other fans are saying. I’ll update the page as often as possible.

It’s always an uphill battle to save a TV show, but it can be done. Thanks to everyone for their efforts, and keep up the amazing work.

Do you have additional ideas to save “Dallas”? Share your passion and positive comments below.